Monthly Archives: September 2014

Article in Sci Phi Journal: Issue #1

Sci Phi Journal: Issue #1 is out in ebook format on Amazon and Smashwords.  Here is the description:

Sci Phi is an online science fiction and philosophy magazine. In each issue you will find stories that explore questions of life, the universe and everything and articles that delve into the deep philosophical waters of science fiction universes.

This month we have,

An original Novellete from author John C. Wright, The Ideal Machine, a tale of aliens from a distant star come to visit an old country church and offer our world a chance for the future.

Original Science Fiction stories from
Joshua M. Young – Domo – A story of a Robot who wonders if he has a soul
David Hallquist – Falling To Eternity – Can a Blackhole help you get away with murder?
Frederick Best – Cosmic Foam – What is beyond the visible world
Jane Lebak – Abandoned River, Dry Water – What do you do when life throws you a curve ball?

Original Essays by
David Kyle Johnson – In Defense of the Matrix Saga: Appreciating the Sequel through Philosophy
James Druley – Star Trek’s Prime Directive : Moral Guidelines, Exceptions and Absolutes
Stephen S. Hanson – Personhood in H.Beam Piper’s Little Fuzzy
Daniel Vecchio – “I am Groot”: An Aristotelian Reflection on Space Aliens and Substance
Ruth Tallman – Endangered Species: Exploring Transhumanism, Genetic Engineering and Personhood Through the World of Sweet Tooth

And a book review by Peter Sean Bradley, Monster Hunter International by Larry Correia.

I’m very excited to be a part of this first edition along side some great philosophers and science-fiction writers.  My article, “‘I am Groot’: An Aristotelian Reflection on Space Aliens and Substance”, is a popular level piece that uses the characters from the blockbuster smash hit, Guardians of the Galaxy, as a springboard to explain the Aristotelian notion of substance.  I consider the peculiar case of Groot, a sentient and lovable humanoid plant, and also whether an artificial life form like Rocket Raccoon could be considered a substance.  There are some spoilers, so I recommend that you check out the film first, if you plan on seeing it at all.  Also, I recommend the movie.  It’s a lot of fun and has an excellent soundtrack.  Nonetheless, I think you will be able to appreciate the article even if you are not familiar with Guardians of the Galaxy.

I haven’t had a chance to read the other short story and article contributions.  Once I have a chunk of my dissertation completed, I am hoping to take a moment to read the issue under a palm tree in my local park.  So, if you are looking for some fun and thought provoking reading materials for those crisp autumn evenings, take a look.  And please consider leaving a kind review! :-D

A Video on the Modal Epistemic Argument

[H/T Inspiring Philosophy]

The above video presents the following argument:

1. For all p, if p is unknowable, then p is necessarily false (premise).

2. The proposition “God does not exist”, is necessarily unknowable (premise).

3. Therefore, the proposition “God does not exist”, is necessarily false.

I find this argument interesting, especially since (1) is very similar to a crucial premise in my knowability argument for omniscience. So my premise states: (∀p)(p ⊃ ◊(∃x)Kxp), or for all p, if p is true, then it is possible that p is known by someone.  The modal epistemic argument above tells us something like: (∀p)(~◊(∃x)Kxp) ⊃ □~p). It would be interesting if one could derive the existence of omniscient mind, and the existence of God from two independent arguments that utilize the same knowability premise.  This means that knowability really stands against the naturalist, and I think some good arguments can be made to support it.  My ears perked up when the narrator mentioned some of the realists and idealists who would be willing to grant the knowability premise: Aristotle and Hegel.  I’ve noticed that anti-realists like Dummett and realists like Aquinas also endorse the knowability premise.  So, it is something to consider.

Beg Your Pardon, What is Begging the Question?

Here is my recent contribution to Attack of the P-Zombies. Enjoy!

Grasped in Thought

We’ve all met them. Usually they are fresh off of a critical thinking, or informal logic course. They are the fallacy mongers. Taught to identify informal fallacies in headlines and textbooks, they begin to “see” fallacies at every turn. And suffering them in any conversion is nearly intolerable. For those unfamiliar, I am talking about people who behave like this. Now, I am not saying that it isn’t important to be able to know and be able to identify informal fallacies. It is. But it can also become a hammer that turns all arguments into nails. This is especially dangerous because informal fallacies tend to be vaguely defined, and often resemble perfectly good methods of reasoning. Pro-tip: When you encounter such people, inform them that it is not sufficient to merely burp up fallacies at you. Ask them to explain to you what the fallacy means, and specifically how…

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